A Social Life by Chris Betts

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Juhannus weekend

cbetts   28.06.2010, klo 11:20, by Chris Betts  

So the famous Juhannus weekend has just been by, so what did you guys get up to during this mid-summer weekend? I will tell you what I did. I traveled out of the city to a town called Vaala, whilst there we played a variety of games such as Finnish baseball, not to be mixed with American baseball these two are very different games, we also had drinks and just enjoyed each others company and being able to share this time together.

So what is Juhannus ?

"The celebration of Midsummer's Eve was from ancient times linked to the summer solstice. Some people believed that mid-summer plants, especially Calendula, had miraculous healing powers and they therefore picked them on this night. Bonfires were lit to protect against evil spirits which were believed to roam freely when the sun was turning southwards again"

"Before 1316, the summer solstice was called Ukon juhla, after the Finnish god Ukko. In Karelian tradition, many bonfires were burned side by side, the biggest of which was called Ukko-kokko (the "bonfire of Ukko"). After the celebrations were Christianized, the holiday is known as juhannus after John the Baptist (Finnish: Johannes Kastaja)"

"Since 1955, the holiday is always on a Saturday (between June 20 and June 26). Earlier it was always on June 24. A lot of the celebration of midsummer takes place on midsummer eve, when many workplaces are closed and shops have to close their doors at noon"

"In the Finnish midsummer celebration, bonfires (Finnish kokko) are very common and are burnt at lakesides and by the sea. Often two young birch trees (koivu) are placed on either side of the front door to welcome visitors, Many Finns leave the cities for Midsummer and spend their holiday in the countryside. Rituals include bonfires, sauna and spending time together"

"Many music festivals of all sizes are organized on the Midsummer weekend. It's also common to start summer holidays on Midsummer day. For many families the Midsummer is the time when they move to the countryside to their summer cottage by the lake. Midsummerday is also the Day of the Finnish Flag. The flag is hoisted at 6 pm on Midsummer eve and flown all night till 9 pm the following evening"

So what ever you did this summer send me and message I would love to hear about it, for Finns reading this blog what is one piece of advice you would give to any international student. Send all stories and pictures to

(pictures and information thanks to Wikipedia)

Upcoming Events

cbetts   22.06.2010, klo 15:00, by Chris Betts  

Upcoming events looking to bring more tourism and people to Oulu to enjoy the summer sun and the beautiful landscape of this upcoming international city.

Start your headbanging early with a little help from Finnkino cinema on Tuesday, June 22, at 20.00.  The Big Four: Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax is a one-night only, live concert screening of four of the biggest names in heavy metal history.  The 35€ ticket price might not get you crowd surfing but will get you a front row seat to the action.  Finnkino’s website can be found at

Other musical events this week include a performance by the Northern Armed Forces Band on Wednesday, June 23 at 12.00 in Rotuaari, free admission; a Summer Evening Concert at Ylikiiminki Church, Thursday, June 24, at 20.00 with Tom Rahko on trombone and Outi Nissi on piano; and a free concert by 70s-inspired Felis Domesticus at club 45 Special on Sunday, June 27 at 23.00.

Dance the night away with some traditional Finnish dancing at Hietasaari’s open-air dance floor, Hietasaari tanssimajakka, Hietasaarentie 13, every Wednesday and Saturday in the summer from 20.30-2.00.  Hietasaari tanssimajakka boasts some of the country’s best artists and orchestras.  Tickets are 13€ per person, sometimes slightly more for more popular events.  Special performances will be given by Janne Tulkki and Ilta orchestra on Friday, June 25 and Marko Lämsä & Thunderball on Saturday, June 26.

Go Arctic! tour operator starts their weekly program this week, offering English language-friendly activities all through the summer.  Guided walking tours of the city in English depart every Thursday at 15.00 from City Hall, free of charge.  Guided sightseeing bus tours of the city in English and Finnish leave every Saturday at 15.00 from City Hall, free of charge.

Learn to dig history (literally!) with Go Arctic!’s excursion to Kierikki Stone Age Centre which leaves every Saturday at 11.00 from the Toripoliisi statue in the Oulu Marketplace.  Highlights of this open-air museum and indoor exhibition center include a reconstructed Stone Age village, hands-on activities that give a better view of life in pre-historical Finland, and even the chance to participate in archaeological excavations.  Booking with Go Arctic! provides you with transportation to and from the museum and covers the entrance fee.  Tickets are 25€ for adults, 22€ for students and pensioners, and 20€ for children and can be bought in advance from Oulu Tourist Information, Torikatu 10, or at the bus.

More information about the Kierikki Stone Age Centre can be found at For more information about Go Arctic!’s other activities, go to

Tar Burning at Turkansaari

Celebrate mid-summer with a couple of family-friendly events.  Turkansaari open-air museum is hosting a night of mid-summer celebration on Friday, June 25, at 18.00, which includes entertainment for children and music.  Be sure to catch the activities surrounding tar production at the museum as Tar-Burning Week kicks off on Friday.  Tickets are 10€ / 7€ / 3€.

(information thanks to 65 Degrees north)

This is the upcoming events more to come but their is alot happening, and I plan to go on this walking tour this thursday so pictures and info to put up soon :D

Another week

cbetts   18.06.2010, klo 14:30, by Chris Betts  

So what have I been upto, well my life has been overtaken with the world cup as I am from England footbal is a huge part of my life, I have even joined a team here in Oulu.

The world cup is being televised here in Finland so I am able to watch every game which is fantastic, there has been a few twists and turns in this world cup so far, due mainly to the fact no one likes the Jabulani Ball, many goalkeepers and players alike have said it is very diffucult to kick and handle.

But I still think it will bring a few more goals for us to see :) as for me I have played with the ball and can understand why people don't like it, so far me and my team have had a fantastic season we have played 5 games and won 4 and drawn 1 and we hope this continues.

Work training is really starting to kick off also, now many events are coming to Oulu so their will be more pictures and stories to be shared, If you are interested in seeing the upcoming events then this link is a great place to see information

So let be give a sneak peek at a few things coming from me, In extra i will put a couple of articles one about what we call the 51% rule, this is a article about how to avoid stereotyping and help lessen the culture shock, another will be a few key words that you will find useful in everyday life in Finland.

We have got Twitter up and running and don't forget to keep an eye on our facebook page for new info and even more stories.

A graduation weekend

cbetts   07.06.2010, klo 12:53, by Chris Betts  

So this weekend I attended a graduation party here in Finland in which was for a student who graduated from High school/upper  secondary school (Lukio) In which the student receives their famous white hat which is seen at special occasions such as Vappu . Upper secondary school concludes with a nationally graded matriculation examination. The examination was originally the entrance examination to the University of Helsinki, and its high prestige survives to this day.

(High school graduation cap in finnish ylioppilaslakki(picture from Wikipedia))

The Finnish graduation cap is worn by people of all ages of who have graduated, but you will see a different type of cap which has a long tassel attached to the cap, this is the graduation cap from technical schools.

(this is the technical graduation cap in Finnish teekkarilakki(picture from wikipedia))

During this day the students will attend the final ceremony in which a program of certain events will happen such as in some cases a dance will be performed or music played or readings from students ect, before the students will receive their caps and their graduation papers, they will also receive words from their headmaster wishing them well for the future.

At the end of this people will then take pictures and it is traditional to give the student a rose for their graduation and the student will receive gifts such as money and items such as kitchen material or things you would receive when moving to a new home.

The people will come to the students home and gather where stories will be shared and well wishes for the student, there they share a glass of champagne and give their wishes to the student. You also have food and coffee and socialize with other people, as for me I was taking many pictures which are great for memories on such an occasion.

For me this was a learning experience of some traditional Finnish culture, as in England we don’t have such an occasion like this one, and it’s an experience that I really enjoyed and found interesting.

Sunshine fun

cbetts   01.06.2010, klo 14:02, by Chris Betts  

So it was beautiful weather outside here in Oulu, so one close friend of mine lent me his camera and it is fantastic piece of equipment :D

So I went around taking some pictures to test out the camera, and these pictures was the results, take a look and leave some comments and keep following I will be adding more as the summer continues.

As for the work training, things are going well, new ideas are coming and a great chance for you to leave some comments here if there is something you think would be helpful for international people coming to Oulu or already here.

Don't forget the fan page is being updated all the time, so don't be shy and leave a comment, or join in in discussions being held on the page, this page is for you as a resource and a voice.


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